The Acne Eruptions of Eleanor of Aquitaine

Franco Buffoni
Translated from the Italian by Moira Egan

Who was the last to leaf through themFor what they were? Larkin might have askedAt the news that prayer booksHave become the breviariesOf fingerprints.Viruses pestilences tragedies and faminesOpen up like a biological horizonFrom medieval illuminated manuscripts.The parchments written on buckskin and deerskinAre excellent for studying the genetics of animal strains.They tell a story of migration and human DNA,Climate changes and viral infections.Handled, embraced, kissed by thousands of peopleCenturies after their creation,Medieval books are a hard disk of monks and scribes,Noblewomen, poets, and knightsAlong with the nasal staphylococci aureiAnd the propionibacteria from the acne eruptionsOf Abelard and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Le eruzioni d’acne di Eleonora d’AquitaniaChi è stato l’ultimo che li ha sfogliatiPer ciò che erano? Si chiederebbe LarkinAlla notizia che i libri di preghiereSono diventati dei breviariDi impronte digitali.Virus pestilenze tragedie e carestieS’aprono in biologico orizzonteDai codici miniati medievali.Ottime per studiare la genetica dei ceppi animaliLe pergamene vergate su pelli di daino e di cervoRaccontano una storia di migrazioni e umano Dna,Mutamenti climatici e infezioni virali.Maneggiati, abbracciati, baciati da migliaia di personeA secoli dalla loro creazioneI libri medievali sono un hard disk di monaci e scrivaniNobildonne poeti e cavalieriCon gli staffilococchi aurei nasaliE i propionibacteria d’eruzioni d’acneDi Abelardo ed Eleonora d’Aquitania.

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Franco Buffoni was born in Gallarate (Lombardy) in 1948. He lives in Rome. He is a full professor of literary criticism and comparative literature. For 30 years he has taught in the universities of Parma, Bergamo, Milano IULM, Torino, and Cassino. Some of his books of poetry are Suora Carmelitana (Montale Award, Guanda, 1997); Songs of Spring (Mondello Award, Marcos y Marcos, 1999); Il Profilo del Rosa (Betocchi Award, Mondadori, 2000); Guerra (Dedalus Award, Mondadori, 2005); Noi e loro (Marino Award, Donzelli, 2008); Roma (Giuseppe Giusti Award, Guanda 2009); Poesie 1975-2012 (Oscar Mondadori, 2012, pp 400); Jucci (Castello di Villalta Award, Mondadori 2014). Some parts of these books have been published in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and England. Two full-length collections have appeared in the United States and in France. In 1989 he founded and he is still the editor of the review Testo a Fronte, dedicated to the theory and the practice of literary translation (Marcos y Marcos). As a translator he edited I Poeti Romantici Inglesi (Mondadori, 2005). As an essayist he published Ritmologia (Marcos y Marcos, 2002), La traduzione del testo poetico (Marcos y Marcos, 2005), Con il testo a fronte. Indagine sul tradurre e l’essere tradotti (Interlinea, 2007), and Laico Alfabeto (Transeuropa 2010). As a novelist he published Più luce, padre (Luca Sossella Editore 2006), Zamel (Marcos y Marcos 2009), Il servo di Byron (Fazi 2012), La casa di via Palestro (Marcos y Marcos 2014). As a journalist he collaborates with several magazines and radio programs.

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Eric Toccaceli

Moira Egan has published nine books of poetry (5 in the U.S., 4 in Italy). Her most recent volume is Amore e Morte (Love and Death), a bilingual New & Selected (Edizioni Tlon, Rome, 2022). Her work has been published in journals and anthologies on four continents. With her husband, Damiano Abeni, she has published volumes in translation in Italy by John Ashbery, John Barth, Aimee Bender, Frank Bidart, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Anthony Hecht, Sheila Heti, Ben Lerner, Charles Simic, Mark Strand, Josephine Tey, Charles Wright, and others. Moira has been a Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and has held writing fellowships at the St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Malta; the Civitella Ranieri Center; the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center; and the James Merrill House. She lives, teaches, and sometimes even writes in Rome.

Cover of Divining Dante

ACT, Australia

2021 is the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, author of the long narrative poetic trilogy, The Divine Comedy. In a time of global pandemic, Dante’s exploration of the relationship between the physical and spiritual worlds and humankind’s responsibilities to each other seems particularly relevant, and to commemorate Dante’s anniversary we invited 70 poets from around the world to respond to Dante’s famous work, assisted by a team of seven contributing editors: Paul Munden (UK), Nessa O’Mahony (Ireland), Paul Hetherington (Australia), Alvin Pang (Singapore), Priya Sarukkai Chabria (India), Moira Egan (Italy) and David Fenza (US).

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